And Done!

The last month, since Dixon left, have been pretty full on. I have had my sister visit, exams to study for, exams to sit, and now it is all done!

The time with my sister was really nice, even if it was short. She was in the country for a conference in London but arrived a few days earlier and came through to Exeter to spend a couple of days with me. We stayed in a little B&B which was really sweet, the couple who ran it were lovely and really interesting to talk to over breakfast. She arrived on the Monday, and on the Tuesday we went…… Wedding Dress Shopping.
Now, basically anyone who knows me at all knows I don’t really wear dresses. And I don’t really shop. So you can probably imagine my trepidation at the prospect of shopping … not just shopping but dress shopping …. not just dress shopping but Wedding dress shopping!!! Yea, I was a bit nervous πŸ˜›
To my surprise, it was actually quite a bit of fun! :O The first place we went, the lady was really helpful and on to it but in a relaxed friendly kinda way, which helped me not to focus on the shopping side of it but on the “oh wow, I’m actually getting married and these actually look really good, I think I can actually do this.” So that was nice! Having McDonalds for lunch, between shops, was also useful in helping the day feel a tad more normal (if normal is a good word for being in England, with my sister who I hadn’t seen for months, looking at potential dresses to wear once…. πŸ˜› ). So yes, seeing her was definitely a highlight to help the next couple of weeks not seem quite so bad!

Now, exam wise, I don’t really have much to complain about, really. 3 exams, over 5 days, with a day off in between each, and all I needed to do was pass. But (and there is always a but when it comes to exams) I am a perfectionist and ‘just passing’ doesn’t sit right with me. Especially for the modules I really enjoyed, like Nuclear and Soft Matter. So I was trying to still get a good amount of study in each day, without burning out, and while planning my months holiday at the end of it all. I ended up studying in the cafe above the book shop down the road several times, and a couple of times up at campus, because my room was all I would see and I was starting to feel the effects of cabin fever. The exams themselves weren’t too terrible, really, the first one was possibly the best one, Soft Matter wasn’t bad either but not as good as I would have liked to do for level of enjoyment I got out of the course. Principles of Theoretical Physics was, well, about as expected. Not great but I think I passed (which is about how everyone else did, too). Now I just need to wait for the results to come out sometime next month, to see how I really did!

The first few days after my final exam (which was Monday morning), I spent catching up with people who I hadn’t seen properly for awhile, having lunch with other physics students, and at the beach in the rain.

The beach was amazing fun, although I wasn’t optimistic enough to take my togs. I should have though, once you adjusted the water really was quite lovely. Refreshing.

One good thing during exams was the OODS Revision walks. During terms 1 and 2, the Saturday walks are normally between 6-11 miles with the norm being about 8ish, taking up most of the day. During term 3, when exams are, they are only in the afternoon and no more than 5 miles. Relaxing walks to take a break from study, rather than a day excursion. One was right after I had an exam and was exactly what I needed (along with my traditional mini chocolate bar).

Between going to the beach in the rain and the second Revision Walk I went on, I went back to visit Dixon’s Aunt and Uncle in Cornwall. That is where the feature photo is from this time: A little village on the hill in north Devon called Clovelly. We also went to the beach in Bude – it’s almost like it is summer, with all these beach trips!
It was really good to see them again, they were even brave enough to have my violin come with me!

 

Saturday and Sunday night were spent watching the Shrek movies with an OODS friend (who is probably going to read this πŸ˜› Hi!). Today things got really exciting but that deserves its own post another day, so I’ll leave you all hanging πŸ˜‰

Holiday Part Two

Carlisle! We spent five days up north with the aunt of the other side of Dixon’s family.
We arrived the Good Friday and on the Saturday we went on a trip across the boarder into Scotland. Gretna Green was only 9 miles from where we were staying so it wasn’t a long trip – it was an odd feeling to one moment be in England, the next in Scotland. Even while living in China, I had never crossed a land border before.


Our second day in Carlisle was spent doing as little as possible – the non-stop sightseeing over the previous almost two weeks had left us both feeling exhausted and in need of a quiet day.
We made up for it on day three, however, when – after taking the two dogs for a walk at the park – we all went to Whitehaven. It’s a nice little place right on the coast. I wasn’t a fan of the height of the sea wall but the view from the top was nice! We then went to another miniature steam railway. This one was longer than the last one – 40 minutes each way rather than 15. Dixon didn’t get to ride up the front this time but I think he enjoyed the trip all the same. It was a lovely day for it, if a bit cold in the shade. On the drive home we went through the Lake District which was really cool. It is one part of the country I have really wanted to get to and it would be nice to get there again before I leave!

Tuesday the two of us explored central Carlisle more, going to the Cathedral, Castle and picking up our tickets to London from the train station. We did consider a highropes course in town but decided it wasn’t as good as the one at Adrenaline Forest so we would just wait until we are both back in NZ and go there again πŸ˜› Instead we decided to go see Fast and Furious 8, which we both enjoyed.

Wednesday was the day of the Roman Ruins, going to Vindolanda near a section of Hadrian’s Wall. It is the site of a Roman fort and town that they are still excavating. The outlines of some of the building are very clear, and the wall around the main fort, too. Not too far away was a Roman Army Museum with a 3D movie about the forts and the wall and the people who guarded it. It was a well put together museum with lots of different audio visual displays and maps and things showing when different parts were built and what life would have looked like for different classes of people. Well worth the visit! As that was our final full day with Dixon’s aunt and her fiance, that evening we went bowling! It was lots of fun although none of our scores were anything near record breaking πŸ˜› Dixon won the first game, I won the second but he got the highest combined score. His aunt was giving us a pretty good run – I’m sure she rigged it at one point because there was one whole round where she was the only person who got any pins down at all! She got 9 down or something, the rest of us just got gutter balls! Still don’t know how she did it πŸ˜›

The next morning it was off to London again. The train from Carlisle to London was a lot faster than the one from Barnstaple to Carlisle – 3 hours rather than 7. Shorter distance, fewer stops and no transfers does that πŸ˜› The original plan for Friday was going to be the Warner Bro’s Studio Tour but we didn’t get it sorted out soon enough. Instead, it was off to the London Zoo! That was a lot of fun – a long day and a lot of walking but seeing all the animals and hearing a couple of the talks about them was really interesting! We each bought a soft toy – his a giraffe, mine a tiger – as our memento. Originally they were going to be clip on tails but it was eventually decided that we would get more out of a soft toy than a tail πŸ™‚

And then, it was our last day in London! What was there left to do?! I’m glad you asked πŸ˜‰
Westminster Abbey (it was open this time πŸ˜€ ). the giant Lego shop, M&M world, Shaftesbury Avenue, China Town, and in the evening: WICKED! It was an amazing show to end an amazing holiday πŸ˜€ Β πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ The whole day was amazing – seeing inside the Abbey (including graves of Isaac Newton, Elizabeth I and Mary I, Mary Queen of Scots, all sorts of people), looking around four floors of chocolate and two floors of lego creations, it was incredible. Between having hot chocolates in a cafe on Shaftesbury Avenue and going to the theatre we packed up bags and watched another Fast & Furious. While we were in London we watched two a day to get through the first 6, in part because we could so why not and part because I had only seen 6, 7 and 8, not any of the earlier ones and that needed fixing πŸ˜›

Finally, it was time. The three weeks were up, the sights had been seen, the planes and bus were waiting to be caught. I went with Dixon to Heathrow and waited with him until he had to go through security before going to catch my bus back to Exeter.

I’ll admit, it’s been odd being back, for a number of reasons. Not having any more classes left is a weird feeling, I have to motivate myself to get study done and actually leave my room each day. It is really quite because not everyone is back yet and I’m not sure how back people will be – with only exam study to do, some people may prefer to stay at home rather than come back before hand. And after constantly having someones company for 3 weeks, it was really odd sitting in my room, by myself. But hey, that’s not a bad thing – to be able to put up with him for three weeks of traveling is a good sign, right? πŸ˜‰

 

Holiday Part One

If I was to go into detail of everything I have done in the last three weeks, you would be reading for hours and I would be writing for even longer! Instead, I’ll just give a brief outline πŸ˜›

On the 3rd, I caught the bus to Heathrow, where I met Dixon! It was really good to see him again πŸ™‚ We spent two days in London. The first day our first stop was Buckingham Palace, walked through the Horse Guard and past Downing Street to get to Westminster, which was closed unfortunately. Then we went around the London Eye and walked along Queen’s Walk to Millennial, London and Tower bridges. The Tower of London was really cool. We saw the crows and the Crown Jewels and the Bloody Tower. There was one boy, as we were going through the room talking about the tortureΒ devices, who was so disappointed at the fact that there were only three types of device on display πŸ˜›

The next day (05/04) we went through the Science Museum and Natural History Museum. The Science Museum was really cool, but the Natural History Museum didn’t have quite as much as we were expecting – the fact that our feet were exhausted by this point wouldn’t have helped.

06/04
Bath was incredible – because all the buildings are made of bath stone, there is a uniformity to the look of the city. It does make it hard to tell the age of a building and wouldn’t be the place to live if you didn’t like bath stone, but it does look nice.

07/04
The Jane Austen House was first up. Wasn’t quite Dixon’s cup of tea but I enjoyed it and I don’t think he found it too painful πŸ˜› Walking around Bath, just exploring, was really interesting. Looking at the architecture, looking around the craft shops, having read about it so often it was amazing to just be there!

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For all the amazing architecture, this is possibly my favourite part of Bath

In the afternoon we caught the train through to Exeter where I was able to start introducing Dixon to the people I have met here.

08/04
We went to Dartmoor for the day on Saturday which was really good! The first time I went to Dartmoor with Dad, I knew I wanted to show Dixon. It was cool seeing it in the different season, as well! One of my friends came along, too, which was a lot of fun. Spending the whole day in the sun I ended up getting burnt on the back of the neck. Mine was worse than the others because I had my back to the sun while we were eating lunch – it was a good enough burn for it to start peeling a few days later which made life fun.

I also may have accidentally knocked Dixon over by trying to hit his hat off… except I got his nose not his hat…. Don’t let anyone tell you that I have perfect depth perception. He was ok but the others found it hilarious – I couldn’t stop saying sorry for a good while! Thankfully it wasn’t while we were at the top of a Tor or it could have ended very badly.

On the Monday I got to be the one who was meeting new people – Dixon’s Aunt and Uncle. We caught the train from Exeter to Barnstaple and were picked up there. Cornwall was lovely! We went so many places – Tintagel, the Eden Project and Launston Steam Railway among them. The first place we went was possibly my favourite though – TrebarwithΒ beach.

After Cornwall we went up to Carlisle. Β But that must be written on another day!

Quite a lot has happened over the last two weeks and I’ve been pretty slack at writing it as it all happened so I’ll do my best to remember the main points!

The week following my last post was an exciting one with two cards and a package arriving in the mail to join the envelope my Dad left for me to open on my Birthday. The week went by quite quickly with its normal activities. I was starting to get nervous about the poster we had to do for our final assessment of one paper as we were still struggling to get results on Monday. Friday, however, turned that all around so after 6 hours in the lab I felt like it was actually possible for us to get the analysis done and poster made in a week. It’s always nice to end the week on a better footing than you started it on!

Saturdays (18th) walk was in Dartmoor area, Steps Bridge to Mortonhampsted. So many daffodils! The weather wasn’t bad, either, which helped make for a lovely day out. I almost didn’t make it on the walk because I went to the wrong spot to meet people and so only arrived at the right place once the bus was already leaving! Thankfully, despite the fact our group had basically filled up the bus entirely, the driver was kind enough to open the doors to let me on (in part due to the fact he had a red light out of the station so had to stop for that anyway!). Going down those country lanes in a bus almost as wide as the road, trying to keep your balance as you go around corners and over bumps in the road certainly stops trips from getting dull πŸ˜›

Sunday (19th) was a really good day πŸ˜€ Started, in a way, on Saturday night with a Skype to Dixon in which I was allowed to open the parcel that had arrived earlier in the week. It was a scarf from Litographs with the script for The Princess Bride on it in green. It is so cool πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ I still haven’t figured out if it has all the lines but it certainly has all the key ones I’ve looked for!
Sunday morning I Skyped Mum, Dad and my sister, with my brother joining in for part of it as well. Internet is an amazing invention and being so far from both homes, it really makes life easier! At church we were having a big event called New Day, which was up at Uni. We had hired out the biggest venue in town and were trying to pack it out with people, to celebrate new beginning and what that means. While we didn’t completely pack it out, there was still a good number of people in there – the room didn’t look empty! I helped pack up after, putting the room back to how it was before we went in, and unloading the equipment truck back at our normal venue. This meant I had to walk home past the fudge shop so I gave myself a birthday treat and bought some chocolate fudge. It was soooooo good. Well worth the wait!

Then I had about an hour and a half down time before going to have a birthday dinner with the family who hosted me when I first arrived in town. It was lovely to see them again, along with their son, his wife and their two kids, and friends from their time in Papua New Guinea. I hadn’t been sure what my birthday dinner would look like this year but they took care of it, even baking me a birthday cake, and it was amazing! I can’t properly describe just how special it felt to have that done for me – I still don’t feel like I have been here very long. After dinner, some girls from church and I went to see the new Beauty and the Beast. My favourite part was probably Belle’s (Emma’s) reaction to the library in the Beast’s castle. Seeing as it was basically how I would react in the same situation, it just seemed really real. I also had fun counting the number of references to other movies I could count. I can’t remember the number anymore but there were definitely Harry Potter, Sound of Music and others thrown in there. Some of them I might just be imagining but it was fun. One friend, on her facebook post to me, told me to make the most of having a 37 hour birthday (due to time zones) and I definitely did!

That week was the final week to get the poster I mentioned earlier, finished. Well, with a good effort on both our parts, my lab partner and I were able to hand it in a full 3 hours early! Seeing as five days before we handed it in, the poster didn’t exist, I feel like it was a very good effort! We were meant to be finding out if imaging a specific particle under certain conditions was possible. Our supervisor was wanting the answer to be yes but we hadn’t been able to get good enough images to get it clear enough. Our head supervisor never got back to us with final suggestions about our results so we just rolled with what we had – answering no, even if it isn’t what is wanted, is just as valid an answer as answering yes. Β The featured image is a comparison between a real image of nanoparticles and gravel on the road that reminded me of the project. I’m seeing clusters of “nanoparticles” everywhere, now. Everywhere.

Wednesday last week, our Halls group joined with another hall group to hold a movie night. We watched Back to the Future which was a lot of fun – now I want to re watch the second and third again, though! This week we are going to the beach at Exmouth, so I’ll be back for the second time in a week! The first time, as you might be wondering, was on Saturday with the final OODS walk for the term. 11 miles, Sidmouth to Exmouth. It was a stunning day, bright sky, warm sun, cool breeze. And the hills along the coast didn’t even seem too bad! One friend was the designated Tail-end Charlie so I kept her company at the back, making sure we didn’t lose anyone along the way. I’m glad of the chance to get back to Exmouth as last time I didn’t get a chance to buy a postcard. Might be going too late today, as well, but it’ll mean I’m more confident to go back again myself, maybe when we have another unusually nice day. Also, I don’t have as many photos as sometimes because once more I forgot to charge my photo phone so it ran out of battery before lunch.

Final week of classes this week. Feels really odd, knowing it is week 11 already! Still ages until exams but seeing as Dixon arrives on Monday, I need to have a good plan for study to make sure I am actually ready for them πŸ˜› My first one is on May 11 and he leaves April 23 so still plenty of time between to make sure I’m ready.

Today’s excitement is buyingΒ Β£49 worth of violin music! 5 books covering a range of music, including pop covers, Lindsey Stirling covers and Les Miserables pieces. One book is some fun duet pieces so that’ll be fun to play, either with Dixon or with other violin friends!

My new “normal”

It has been a pretty normal week this week, haven’t had anything unexpected happen. I did realize that it is a different normal to what I had back in NZ, though, so decided to give a quick run down on what “normal” looks like for me now:

Each day starts roughly the same: Alarm goes off at 7am, I connect my phone to the internet and say hi to Dixon, also replying to any messages sent by friends/family in NZ/China while I have been asleep. Then by 9 I try and start studying at my desk, heading up to Uni half an hour before the start of my first class. Monday and Friday are my “long” days; Monday has one hour of class in the morning then three hours of lab in the afternoon, Friday has 3 hours of lab in the morning, 3 hours of lab in the afternoon. Monday evening every second week is Student Night at Church. This week was an “other” week, when it wasn’t on, so I stayed home and studied, talked to Dixon and read. Tuesday only has two hours of class, separated by a three hour gap in which I study. After my final class I find Β a quiet spot to study before the start of ECU (Exeter Uni Evangelical Christian Union). Wednesday I only have one hour of class so I come straight back home after and study at my desk enjoying the afternoon sun through my window (and yes, there is even sun some days! :O ). As it is the main time the sun is actually in my room, I like to make the most of it. This week I went to a grocers on the way home and was pretty happy when I came away with 4 oranges, 3 apples, a large onion, a head of garlic, snowpeas and a red capsicum forΒ Β£4.99 ($8.77). It’s the little things πŸ˜› In the evenings I go to ECU Hall Group, which is a small group connected to ECU. Normally it is a bible study of some sort but this week we did “Dial a Dishwasher” where we put posters up around the Halls of Residence I’m in telling people to text in if they wanted us to come and clean their kitchens for them. It was quite fun, really! A good chance just to help people out and do something practical to help them.

Thursdays I have 2 classes but still manage to be home mid afternoon to study in the sun again. It is also my night to go to bed as early as I want to recover from the last two-three nights of socializing with people πŸ˜› After my 6 hours in the lab on Fridays, I heat up a meal that Dad cooked for me when he was here (they have been sitting in the freezer for Fridays). I am, sadly, coming to the end of these meals, but as the term is coming to an end over the next few weeks, I guess that is just as well really. If I’m up to it I do a bit of study, otherwise I read or watch a few episodes of a show.

Saturdays I go on OODS trips. This weeks walk was the Dartmouth Circular. It was a later start than other weeks, only meeting at 10:15 at the train station. There was such a large number of us all getting tickets, though, that we actually missed the train we were originally aiming for! Thankfully they were only 10 minutes apart so we were able to catch the next one and everything was all good. We caught the train as far as Paignton, passing through Torquay (Didn’t see Basil Faulty, though), then the bus from there to Dartmouth. One of the things Dartmouth is famous for is the fact that the only way to get across the river Dart, other than driving 50 minutes upriver to Totnes, then 30 minutes back down the other side, is to catch a ferry. There is no bridge across. So we caught the ferry across so we were on the correct side of the river to start our walk.

After the weekend away last weekend, I knew a few more of the people on the walk than other weeks. A friend from church was also there, and a girl I had met on my first walk, so that was really cool! Once more there were amazing views, squishy mud, fresh air, bright flowers, green grass and trees, cloudy sky, and a good feeling of having completed something at the end of the day! I got to tell stories of Maui and was told about why there is a railway restaurant on the side of the river without the railway. Apparently the rail, at one point, was going to cross the river and they built the station, but then decided not to actually cross the river. The station was converted into a restaurant, and ta da! The Station Restaurant!

There wasn’t a whole lot of the castle standing to explore that we could get to – some parts that you could pay to see I think but we didn’t, but it was still really cool to see! Apparently, at one point when England was at war with France, to stop Dartmouth being invaded (the river means they could get quite a way inland after the mouth got taken), a chain was stretched between the castle and a fort on the other side of the river.

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These two guys are representatives of the troublemakers in Dartmouth. One girl in our group bought an ice cream when we made it back to the wharf, before heading back to Exeter. A seagull (no proof it was either of these two) comes along and steals her ice cream from her! Not quite the nice end to the walk that she was hoping for. You could just see them eyeing up any food that was around.

While waiting for the ferry to take us back, four of us decided we wanted Firehouse pizza, so when we got back to Exeter we walked to the Old Firehouse and found sets at the end of a table that had three other guys at the other end. It was packed and the lack of food on anyones table told you they were all waiting for pizza to start being served at 8pm. So we bought drinks and waited, too. Buying drinks was slightly entertaining. Two of us went to get drinks at the same time while the others saved our seats, and as there was a minimum card spend and I had no more cash, we would buy our drinks together. So, “A raspberry cider and orange juice, please.”
“Raspberry cider and orange juice?”
“Yes, an orange juice and raspberry cider.”
*comes back with a raspberry cider orange juice mix*
“umm…. we were meaning one of each…. sorry…..”
We got what we wanted in the end but felt really bad for the mix up! He didn’t seem too pleased, either.
The others had no such problem and eventually the time passed, we ordered our pizzas and got told the good news – they would be ready in 45 minutes. 9pm. So we settled down to wait again, the whole place being filled more and more by the amazing smell of pizza. When the pizza came though, it was worth it. We got one between two, the one I was sharing being a BBQ pulled pork, and I really really enjoyed it.
20170311_210250

At one point on the train, a friend accused me of being “stereotypical” when she saw on my phone that I took photos of my food. Well, when her pizza arrived, she pulled out her phone and took a photo. When she saw my look, she grinned, “I am also stereotypical.”

Today, Sunday, I went to church, met some more people, then because there was no student lunch, I walked home through Northernhay Gardens (no pictures but very pretty – lots of statues and memorials to various things, and a feeling of being out of the city) before stopping in at a few shops, just to have a look at what they had, buying food along the way, and having lunch when I eventually got home. I am now watching the sun get lower, listening to Pentatonix and writing about my week πŸ™‚

So, that is my fairly normal week! When I was talking to Mum earlier in the week, she asked what it would be like getting back to Palmy, after everything I have been doing here. It’ll def be odd at first but I think eventually, I will do what over the years I have learnt to do best: I’ll adjust and it’ll become my new normal. Until then, I’ll enjoy this normal and everything it has to offer!

And the Mystery Location is…..

A little Hostel outside of Lewes! Wow! πŸ˜› The exciting thing about this is that it is walking distance (for a walking group, anyway) of Brighton. So, that’s what we did πŸ˜€ But I’m getting ahead of myself:

Thursday night I had to pack because I knew I wouldn’t want to Friday morning, and if I did I would forget something important. Friday morning I was nicely organised and able to head off at 9am to my lab up at uni, taking my gear for the weekend with me. It was a long day in the lab but I was looking forward to seeing where we were going so it didn’t seem too bad. As soon as we were able to go, I, with my friend Google Maps, found my way to St Davids station and was the first person from our group to arrive, so found a bench and sat down. A few minutes later, a girl with a backpack came up to me and asked if I was with OODS, and when I replied I was, she joined me in waiting. More people started arriving and I had the entertaining and pointless happiness at being the one who decided the exact spot we were meeting πŸ˜› No one else really knew this at all but it is a better feeling than realising that a group has formed 100m down from where you chose to sat but no one else knew you were waiting first so you seem to be later than you are πŸ˜›
Anyway, despite meeting at the train station, we were heading off in a coach, so we all pile on, pestering the 3 people who knew where we were going (3 plus the driver, that is) to tell us. Nope, we would find out when we got there. All we knew is that it was far enough to be worth stopping for dinner along the way, and it was out of Devon. We quickly figure out we are heading East, so we weren’t going to Cornwall – and we weren’t going to the Lake District because that would have required leaving way earlier than we were! After dinner (At a Witherspoon’s in Honiton) it was let slip we would be arriving about 10:30pm so we now had a radius we could work with. The girl I was sitting next to suggested Brighton but dismissed it as being too far. But we kept heading that way – whenever there was a sign to Brighton, that was the road we would take. Maybe it was somewhere on the way? Fewer and fewer options…. but then, we went around Brighton, rather than into it?! Now where? We went through Lewes…. then suddenly, the driver slows down and there’s a “That was it!” from the driver. He missed the driveway, as it was just in the middle of nowhere! We continued down the road for a few minutes before we found a place where the bus could turn and take us back to the YHA South Downs. The announcement is made: Tomorrow, we are walking to Brighton!

So, that’s what we do! We set off at about 10am, sun, if not “shining” was at least visible through the clouds, light breeze and cameras ready to go. And boy, did they go. Between leaving Exeter and arriving back in my room Sunday night, I took 294 photos. Don’t worry, I’m not putting them all up here! A selection, though:

Sorry about the photo dump – that is me being restrained!

We had fish and chips at a restaurant on the pier for dinner, before realising we had to leaveΒ now to be able to catch the next train back to Southease (the station by the hostel), so the bill was paid, we grabbed our stuff and left – some faster than others. Those of us waiting for the last people to be ready, lost sight of the front group which, funny enough, had the only people who actually knew the way to the station. Our friend, Google Maps, gave us a hand but also told us that it would take 20 minutes to walk there – the train left in 20 minutes. So we started running but one girl had hurt her knee so running wasn’t really an option for her, therefore wasn’t an option for any of us. We passed a bus stop and saw that there was a bus to the station due in one minute. We’ll catch that, it’ll get us there faster. Once we all got on (which took a while as we each had to pay and get change and a ticket etc.), the traffic seemed so slow that we were wondering if it was actually worth it or not! Thankfully the route then left the main street and we got there with enough time to buy our train tickets, run through the barrier (not literallyΒ through it… more, to it, then from it to the train) and onto the train, flop down in our seats, meeting up with the others who had gone ahead, and watch the station pull away. All 25 of us made it back safely πŸ™‚

The stars that we could see on the short walk from the station to the hostel were really pretty – more than we can see here in the city, even on a clear night. I did have a slight bond moment and wonder where the Southern Cross was but quickly figured out why I couldn’t see it πŸ˜› As soon as we got back most of us pretty much just collapsed into bed right away.

Sunday morning we headed off again, after checking out and leaving our bags in the reception, to Newhaven.

We actually walked from South Downs to Seaford, then caught the train back to Newhaven, stopped there for lunch, then train back to Southease. The original plan was to walk to Seaford then curve back down to Newhaven, still walking, but between timing pressure and the rain it was decided it would be better to train than keep walking.

Newhaven
Not our exact route but enough to show the basic idea of where we went and how

As it was, by the time we got back the coach had arrived and we had just enough time to change out of wet clothes before piling on the bus and heading home again! It was nice to see the route we came in on in daylight, as we arrived after dark on Friday.

I was pretty tired but managed to rest enough to feel up to visiting the Old Firehouse for a Global Chums social – free pizza! The Old Firehouse is meant to be the inspiration for the Leaky Cauldron and sitting inside looking around, I could get that sort of feel for sure. And they do amazing pizza. I tried to get some photos but they didn’t turn out too well so I won’t bother, but if you are even in Exeter, check it out for sure!

I Found A Friend :D

Just to shake things up a little, I’m going to stat with today’s adventure then go back to the rest of the week.
I had been concidering going on another walk with the OODS but as I am going away with them for the weekend next week, and I have spent the week with a cold, I decided that it would be better if I had a slower day today. Slightly disappointing but I had a good day all the same!
Talked with Dixon for a bit in the morning, then went to a movie and the cinema next door. My goal for the day was to go places I haven’t been yet, so the cinema fitted in well with that. The movie was Hidden Figures, about three women working for NASA when they were trying to beat the Russians in getting a human into orbit. I really enjoyed it, both for the nerdiness of it, and for how it depicted each of the characters – obviously in a couple of hours you couldn’t get the whole story of each of their lives but I liked how they structured it so you saw they did still have lives out side of their work. They each shook things up enough to get results but not enough to be over the top.

I then wandered around for a while trying to find a place to have lunch. I first went to the Old Firehouse, which I had heard quite a bit about, but it was quite busy and I didn’t feel like sitting outside, so it is still on my to do list. After some more wandering and going in circles around some side streets I hadn’t explored yet, I decided on a place just near the museum called:

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I had a Lamb and Mint pasty, and a chocolate milkshake. The milkshake wasn’t as good as some I have tried here, but it wasn’t bad and the food was good πŸ™‚
Looking around the museum was next on the list. I had done the ground floor with Dad but not the top floor so I spent a couple of hours wandering around there. All sorts of interesting displays from Greek pottery and an Egyptian Β mummy, to hundreds of beetles and butterflies, to Maori and Pacific Island weapons, tools and art, to a taxidermied polar bear. The kiwi, above, was part of their birds display.

Then it was time to wander my way home again, through some more side streets I had been wondering about going down but had never got around to it. So yea, not as fast paced or action packed as some Saturdays but a good one all the same πŸ™‚

Monday now, at uni with a few hours between classes.
The Saturday walk just over a week ago was an interesting one. It was from Seaton to Sidmouth, along a nice stretch of coast:

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Seaton – Sidmouth 18 Feb

What the map doesn’t really show well is the hills. The coast is mainly cliffs, so we were going up and down a lot, for the best part of 10 miles. I am glad I went but it isn’t on the list of things I’m wanting to show Dixon when he comes to visit πŸ˜› I don’t feel like doing that to myself again. There were some great views but also a lot of low cloud so not as many nice views at there could have been. Nice group of people, though, and I enjoyed my icecream when we got to Sidmouth!

I didn’t get many photos of this walk as my phone camera went kaput, so had to make do with my phone I bought here.

By the time I got home I couldn’t really be bothered cooking, so I bought hot chips from the fish ‘n’ chip shop down the road, curled up and watched movies all evening.

The next day, Sunday, I had volunteered to help on refreshments between the two services at church as it was a student led service. That meant being at Rediscover by 8:15, so leaving home by 8 am. I can’t remember what happened with my alarm but I ended up waking up to a text from Dixon asking if I was all good, as I hadn’t been online like I had said I would be, at 7:30. I needed one of those texts twice this week (I think I’ve been tired πŸ˜› ). The service went really well and I enjoyed being able to help out, then go for lunch with some of the others afterwards!

The rest of the week has been pretty normal in many ways. I didn’t go out on Monday night as I was too sick but was able to follow through with my normal plans the rest of the week. Sometimes felt like I was dragging myself up the hill to uni, rather than walking, but that feeling improved as the week went on and my cold improved. Some excitement last week: with the help of a lab demonstrator, we were able to actually image our nanoparticles for our physics project! Unfortunately the images didn’t save and when we went back on Friday it was hard work to find them so didn’t get anywhere near as good as we had on Monday. But we have another shot at it this afternoon!

On Wednesday I went along to ECU Halls group, which was really nice. A smaller group, so felt more like a size where I can actually get to know the group rather than just one or two people in the group. They are fun people πŸ™‚ Will be going back this week!

Yesterday (Sunday) I had the entertaining adventure of going to hospital. Not for me, before anyone gets too excited, for my friend. She has been sick for ages and was saying that her mum had told her to go to the drop in clinic at the hospital to see what they thought was wrong. She really didn’t but I was a bully and sided with her mum, and offered to keep her company. It took longer than we were expecting to get there by bus, and back into town again, but it was successful, and meant we each had a more entertaining afternoon than we would have otherwise.

This coming weekend I’m going away for the weekend with the OODS on a mystery weekend away – I’ll let you know where it is when I get back πŸ˜›

Also, while walking home the other evening I decided I should take a photo of the street I live on. You can’t see my building in this shot but it shows the style of building and things that make up my area.
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